Have you ever stopped to consider what is the main purpose of Christian business? As business leaders, the very purpose of our businesses should be very clear to us. Otherwise, we will likely make decisions and take actions on occasion that oppose this purpose, right? If we are not clear on this purpose, how can we achieve it?
Purpose Of Business
It is my belief that the overriding priority of our businesses (as well as our very lives) is to bring glory to God. Through whatever we say and do while living out our lives here on this earth, our purpose is to glorify Him. In layman’s terms, we are to do everything with the purpose of pointing others toward him (like my silhouettes).
In an effort to return to a more consistent and meaningful quiet time in the mornings, I once worked through a reading plan called, “30 Days with Jesus.” This plan took me through segments of the Gospels, focusing on the actions and words of Jesus. If you have never done something like this, I highly recommend it.
In the process of going through this plan, I came across a story that was familiar to me, but had never really spoken to me like it did this time. This story is found in Mark 5:1-20.
Jesus And The Pigs
This story tells about a well-known demon-possessed crazy man that lived in the tombs cut into the side of a mountain area. In the past, many people had attempted to restrain this man, likely in hopes of helping, protecting, or healing him. Unfortunately, they were never able to restrain him for long.
As the story goes, Jesus shows up and the man immediately comes out to meet Him. After quick interaction, Jesus casts the demons out of him and into some pigs that were feeding on the nearby hillside.
Though these pigs proceed to run themselves into the sea and are drowned, the once-possessed man is now healed and in his right mind! There is now cause for celebration!
Angry At Jesus?
However, when the townspeople show up after hearing about this, they do not celebrate the healing of the well-known crazy man. Instead, they are angry at the loss of their pigs and ask Jesus to leave their area.
The Scripture does not tell us if the townspeople were excited about the healing or not. I have to believe they would have celebrated if it were not for the loss of their pigs, don’t you think?
Which Is More Valuable?
I guess it boiled down to the fact that they saw the loss of their pigs as outweighing the gain of the healed man. I will also assume their anger was not due to relationships they had with the pigs!
Instead, the anger of the townspeople was most likely due to the immediate monetary value of the pigs or the revenue stream they represented. Evidently, they saw more value in a herd of pigs than they saw in the life of a man.
Application To Christian Business?
Is there a correlation between this story and Christian ministry in business?
Are there people that view the profitability of a business to be more important than the value of a life (or lives) impacted for eternity? Assuming this is true, do these people represent the majority?
Unfortunately, I think so.
Believe = Behave?
In fact, I would even venture to say that many of us are guilty of behaving this way at times. Do you think so?
Keep in mind that I did not say we necessarily would believe this way. If I asked you which was more valuable – the life of a man or the profitability of your business – you would likely say the life of the man.
I think most Christian business owners would have a hard time arguing against that.
At the same time, I know I am guilty of behaving as if I believe the opposite at times. I do not do this intentionally, but I do it just the same. Maybe you can think of times you have behaved the same way.
Maybe an example has just come to mind.
Whatever the case, it is my strong opinion that we cannot continue to behave this way. There is no question in my mind that God has called me to run our family business in a way that produces excellence AND profitability.
At the same time, I believe His ultimate purpose is for the business to glorify Him. If that means our business is one day destroyed for His name, then I am fine with it.
More likely, it will mean I need to constantly be aware of my small decisions from day to day. I need to be aware of those times when I am placing a greater value on profit than I am on changing a life.
It is in those instances that I need to rethink my approach. Maybe both profit and life change can happen at the same time with that particular situation – maybe not. Either way, I need to choose life change.
That is the stuff that brings glory to him!
What decisions have you faced along this line?
Did you choose life change or profitability?
Are the choices always clear?
photo by Sam Michel; original post date July 14, 2013